View Full Version : Something odd going on with Water charges?

22-01-2009, 20:04 PM
May I please ask for you advice again? i seem to keep hitting problems with this rental.

I moved into my self- contained rented one bedroom flat in a converted house on 8/08. My landlord told me he would sort out the water bill and let them know I had moved in at the time. I still havent had a water bill so rang my landlady in Decemeber who said she would sort it out and told me not to contact the water company. Well today I received a letter from a credit agency in the previous occupants name for an unpaid water bill which happened to have the phone number of Thames Water on it. I called them and explained when I had moved in and they have now given me an account and are about to bill me for £164 from last August until now.

My concerns are that the bill is too high as I am only in a one bedroom flat? am I paying water rates for everyone? There is no meter and Im not even sure there can be as I believe all the flats are on one water supply as there is free hot water for all flats for 3 months every year. The fact my landlady was so adamant that I wasnt to contact them also worries me. Now I fear I am going to upset her when she finds out that I have and Im frightened to query my bill with Thames in case it conflicts with something she has told them. I checked with the man who lives downstairs and he has never received a water bill, has not contacted them and is very happy about it.

I probably should have taken her advice and not contacted them but I have always paid bills on time and I was worrying a lot about not receiving a water bill plus my tenancy agreement says water charges are my responsibility. Is it possible Im being billed for the whole house rather than a one bedroom flat or doesnt it work like that? I cant have a water meter fitted as its not my property and Im not even have supposed to have talked with them although I cant understand why she wouldnt want me to, surely it makes me a good tenant that Im making an effort to keep ahead of the bills?

22-01-2009, 20:34 PM
Uh oh! Sounds like the converted house has one water supply coming in and was on one bill. Now, that Thames Water knows there is more than one flat, they will charge each flat in accordance with their rateable value. You better speak to the landlord.

22-01-2009, 20:59 PM
Thank you for your reply,I did wonder that myself. The thing is right now Im not sure the water company are billing seperately, I think they might be billing me for the whole house as they didnt mention water meters or anything? In which case I dont know if I would do better just to pay the bill as I was the one that pushed it in the first place so its basically my fault there is a bill coming in at all?
I do not want to fall out with the landlord over this, I just want to do everything correctly so there is no comeback on me at a later date.

I have only just received an electricity bill after 6 months as the landlord didnt know who the supplier was so I had to wait until a bill from a credit agency came in for the previous tenant to find out. Im just trying to do everything legally which again I thought a landlord would be glad about?
Oh dear, what have I done?

23-01-2009, 14:13 PM
Hi, I had the same situation with thames water a few years ago house converted into 2 flats on one mains water supply. One tenant told them after receiving a bill for the whole house that the house was now 2 flats .the result was 2 bills sent one for each flat and each flat was charged more than the total of the property as one unit. Once they are aware of the change you can not change it back so you would of been best taking your landlods advise and not contacted them i think he will not be to pleased

23-01-2009, 16:21 PM
oh dear, in that case I will pay the whole bill. Its not actually addressed to my individual flat, its for the house as a whole with my name on it so I would presume they arent aware its seperate flats yet. I presume if I just quietly pay the whole thing then they will be happy and nothing will come back on the landlord?

23-01-2009, 18:28 PM
oh dear, in that case I will pay the whole bill. Its not actually addressed to my individual flat, its for the house as a whole with my name on it so I would presume they arent aware its seperate flats yet. I presume if I just quietly pay the whole thing then they will be happy and nothing will come back on the landlord?

If for the whole house, then the other flat should split it with you. I think you should speak to the landlord - they will get it straighted out hopefully.

23-01-2009, 18:40 PM
There are actually 5 flats in this converted house but I will contact the landlord and say I am willing to pay the bill if it makes things easier. I had baliffs around earlier on behalf of the water company trying to track the previous tenant who lived in my flat so it seems this was a mess before I actually contacted anyone.

mind the gap
23-01-2009, 19:34 PM
I agree with Paragon. It seems really unfair that you should have to pay the whole lot - £300 per year just for your flat, when no-one is paying anything, is plain wrong. Put it to the LL that the cost should be divided between all the flats.

You could hint that otherwise, you would like a water meter installed. You can insist on this and the water authority install it free; it is almost certain to cost you far less than the present arrangement. Then it would all come out about how many falts there are and she would be worse off. It might just shock her out of her tunnel vision as far as this is concerned.

Good luck with your negotiations.

23-01-2009, 20:23 PM
thank you both. The guy who lived here before now has a ccj against him as a result of not paying the bill so I dont want to go down that road and I am not sure I actually could have kept it quiet as the baliffs were buzzing my door and took my details which I presume they will pass onto the water company anyway as proof that he no longer lives here.

I do have a good relationship with my landlord and landlady so I dont want to cause problems for them but at the same time do not want this going to court in my name. I will attempt to explain to her that there have been baliffs visits for the previous tenant of this flat and that I have to pay 'something'. If she offers to divide the charge between the flats then thats better for me but the last thing I want is any bad feeling as Ive only just signed a 12 month AST so we are both stuck with each other for a while.